The Grand Adventure
As the siren song became louder, Ashley and I could no longer resist her tempting lure. We were hooked, bad. The only remedy was a couple of tickets west, destination Grand Canyon by way of Phoenix Sky Harbor. And so it was done. With tickets purchased, we began the daily phone banter of planning and visualizing. A trip of this magnitude required forethought and research. Fortunately the National Park Service website offers a plethora of information, to include trail maps, weather forecasts, and campground reservations. One stop shopping really.
Once the details of where we would lay our heads at night, Mather Campground, and the dusty trail we would explore, Bright Angel, were settled, we began our packing lists. Now for those who have experience camping, this is common knowledge. For those who typically frequent the Marriott, I will shed a tiny bit of light on the subject of packing for a camping trip where you must carry all that you will need on your back. Doing so is not difficult, but must be considered thoughtfully. Forgetting items is frowned upon, as is bringing more than is really necessary.
Packing for this particular adventure would force us to scale down some of our “typical” camping gear in order to accommodate all of our running paraphernalia. Failure to pack proper trail running gear could prove to be fatal. That my friends would be bad. As in, 5 motherless kids wondering why their moms were so careless, bad. So, we made our lists, and checked them twice, or thrice. We had it all: sleeping bags to battle the frigid temps at night, tent, energy sources, headlamps, adequate clothing including a bombproof Arc’teryx Beta GORE-TEX® pro-shell(yes, shameless plug), hydration systems, venom extractor, knife, multi-tool, trail running shoes(equipped with Goat Head Gear Spikes no less), GoPro camera for documentation purposes, cell phones, ultralight first aid kit, moleskin, and a hell of a lot of people wishing us well by sending up good vibes and prayers. The last item on the packing list probably was the most valuable. No, it was the most valuable.
Throughout this journey of preparation and execution, I have felt so much support. My family and friends have encouraged me with their heart-felt calls, texts, emails, and cards. How could I not feel compelled to give this all I had? The words of wisdom shared with me would surely ring in my ears throughout the run. In fact, during a critical decision making point near the North Rim, I heard my husband’s voice echoing clearly. He always supports my lofty goals, yet tempers them with a safety net. I love this about him. I respect him for loving me as I am, a crazy woman with a wild heart, determined to explore and live life through my own unfiltered eyes. One who always waits patiently for my return from an adventure. Adventure feeds my soul. My catch phrase? Perhaps….
As Ashley and I progressed with packing, training and gathering intel, the fire was burning, and the clock was ticking away the days until we set our feet on dusty Arizona ground. April 28th couldn’t arrive fast enough! It was like waiting to open the most anticipated and curious Christmas present. I wanted to take it from the tree and rip it open, only stopping once it was entirely exposed and explored. That was the anticipation. The experience was so much more than I could have ever contrived.